After two years of deliberations, the work on the proposed Smriti Van, a memorial for 151 people who lost their lives in the Malin landslide, has picked up pace with the basic foundation of the memorial in place.
It is here that the survivors of the Malin landslide and families of victims will gather on Saturday morning to pay tributes to their dear ones who lost their lives on July 30, 2014.
The memorial includes semi-circular wall made of stones — brought especially from Newasa in Ahmednagar district — with three pillars that will list the names of the deceased in the tragedy. The overall structure will be constructed at the same spot where the landslide occurred. The work on the memorial started two months back.
The state government has sanctioned Rs 53.53 lakh for the memorial and the project is being implemented by the Public Works Department with the architecture work being done by the College of Engineering Pune.
“There were several issues that delayed the project. However, after the PWD was handed over the work last year, the work picked momentum. The work has taken a break in July due to rains. We should have the memorial ready by December,” said PWD senior engineer VA Aagde.
Tehsildar Ravindra Sabnis said they would ensure that the work is completed within the set deadline of December. Officials said once it is constructed, the memorial would attract people from across the world. “Already, several foreigners have visited the village to study what exactly happened. Some even came to sympathise with the aggrieved families,” said a villager.
Villagers from Malin who keep visiting the site say that they initially wanted to have a temple but when the government suggested a memorial they agreed. Former Malin sarpanch Digamber Walchim said they had hoped to commemorate the second year with a special service to the victims but the memorial was not yet ready. “It is only after repeated rounds to the office of the tehsildar that the work has gained progress,” he said.
Raju Zanjare, whose is the only family that stays near the Malin tragedy site, said that the progress of the memorial is too slow. “Even two years later, they are yet set up the memorial.” Near the tragedy are eight deserted houses. In one of them, the Zanjare family stays. The school building too stands there, deserted and desolate.Besides the construction of the memorial, there is also going to be the plantation of 151 trees in memory of the number of victims who died. There will also be a plaque bearing their names.
Revenue officials said one of the hurdles was to get the approval of the survivors to give up their land for this memorial as they had their houses in the area. Earlier, there was a proposal of Rs 2 crore and this was turned down by villagers as they wanted to keep it simple. Walchim also said that in their talks and discussions concerning the smriti van, they had asked the administration to plant trees and start a training centre because of the delay in implementation. Villagers, who had earlier hesitated to give up their land, supported them in the last two years.